Thriller Book Review – Do Not Ask by Elaine Williams Crockett

Thriller Book Review – Do Not Ask by Elaine Williams Crockett

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Book Review – Do Not Ask

by Elaine Williams Crockett

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2 Blogger Reviews

Dianne James Book Blogger
 Joni Dee
Thriller Author, BookGobbler Admin
 Dianne James 
Blogger & Reader
 Jordan Armstrong
BookGobbler Reader
Shrabastee Chakraborty
BookGobbler Reader

 


 

Book Review by Joni Dee User Sign Up

A Good Thriller Which Will Make You Bite Your Nails.

“Do Not Ask” by Elaine Williams Crockett is the second book featuring Judge Warren Alexander, a former FBI agent who is now a Supreme Court Justice. Let me start by saying that this novel can be read as a standalone, and I felt no need to read the former book “Do Not Assume” in order to understand what’s going on, which was a very good start, ‘in my book’.

I have been searching for a good political related thriller, and I must first state that despite its problems, “Do Not Ask” has a fresh take on things, ditching the norm of an investigating agent/officer/spy. I found this refreshing, and I even learned to embrace the changeovers between the omnipotent narrator and Alexander’s own perspective, narrated by himself.

 

Justice Warren Alexander is being asked to help investigate the disappearance (and possible murder) of the president’s twin daughters, who had a casual affair with his promiscuous skirt-chaser son-in-law and old college buddy – Davis Rideout. At the same time, his legal aid Lilly had disappeared, all evidence pointing at Justice A himself. The entire plot revolves around Davis’ riverside country estate-mansion “Blackhall” which is engulfed in mystery due to the suicide of Josephine Rideout, sometime in the 19th century.

I can go on with the plot, but the novel takes you through many characters, the author dispersing so many misleading clues from one to the other, that anything above my brief intro will spoil it. Once you accepted that Justice A does things in an unorthodox way, insisting on being both an FBI agent, a defence attorney and a judge (I seriously doubt anyone would risk his prestigious justice position/reputation like him) – then you really grow fond of him.
As stated above, Ms. Crockett does well to shift the suspicion from one character to the other, and up until the end – you would suspect someone else, who may or may not be the eventual culprit. I normally get this right from the first few chapter, so hat’s off and great job!

 

The novel is not without flaws, which for me – meant it could have been a real smash otherwise. These start to emerge around half way through, and comprise from small problems with details, characters which supposedly play a big role but aren’t deep enough and then this plot-line is neglected (such as the role of The National Adviser to the president), too much information on late-introduced character (such as an art collector, who should have been introduced much sooner).

In more than one occasions it seemed like new material is introduce to fit the author’s ultimate conclusion, rather than introduce these sooner and let us – the readers – have a crack at solving the case ourselves.

 

Despite these issues, I was biting my nails as I wanted to see who is the culprit, so I must say Ms. Crockett did a very good job as a suspense author. At the end of the day, a novel – especially a  thriller – is measured by whether the reader enjoyed it or not, and I full-mouthed say that I enjoyed it. It made me want to read the previous Judge Alexander novel.


The reviewer is the author of “And the Wolf Shall Dwell“, a political-spy thriller.

Dianne James Book Blogger Reviewed by Dianne James User Sign Up

I Loved It! It Kept Me on the Edge of My Seat…

The President’s twin daughters disappear sparking an FBI investigation. Supreme Court Justice Warren Alexander, a former FBI agent, gets involved in the investigation and when his law clerk also disappears, he is convinced the two cases are connected.
The three bodies are all found at Blackhall, the family estate of his son in law, Davis Rideout.

This story has it all; sex, politics, blackmail and murder. It’s a twisty legal thriller, an intriguing murder investigation, and in the background, the dark family history surrounding Blackhall.

It is a gripping tale that will definitely grab you right at the start and hold you enthralled till the end. The characters are well developed and the plot is cleverly constructed, providing plenty of unexpected surprises. The author’s writing style is straight forward and unemotional, totally appropriate to the story, and the scientific details of DNA are clearly explained so as to be understandable even to my unscientific brain.

I loved it! It kept me on the edge of my seat and the journey to the truth excited me every step of the way. It’s a great read in every sense and I highly recommend it.


Originally posted on “Once Upon a Place” Blog
Dianne is running the book review blog Novel Experiences

 

Book Review by Jordan Armstrong User Sign Up

I Absolutely Loved This Book.

“Do Not Ask” is a fast paced crime/legal thriller that I just couldn’t seem to put down! The numerous twists and turns kept you guessing right to the very end. The detail in the entire book really helped to immerse the reader into the story.

 

As this is the second book, it was not necessary to read the one that proceeds it (although I can’t wait to read ‘Do Not Assume’). The characters were well developed and the back story from the first book was mentioned in enough detail to keep the reader informed without ruining the first book. The plot of the story flowed well, and was very realistic.

 

This was my first book by Elaine Williams Crockett, but it definitely will not be the last; bring on ‘Do Not Assume’! Thanks again for the book!


 

  Book Review by Shrabastee Chakraborty
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A Gripping Tale with Layers after Layers of Mystery

“Do Not Ask’ by Elaine Williams Crockett is the second book of the series featuring Justice Warren Alexander. However, the reader does not need to read the first book in order to enjoy the second one. And enjoyable it is, indeed!
The President’s twin daughters are missing. Are they innocent victims of a hideous crime, or is there more to them than meets the eye? The plot thickens when Justice Alexander’s law clerk goes missing, too. Are the two crimes linked? Is there a serial killer on the loose? The FBI incriminates the old caretaker of Blackhall Manor, where all three bodies are eventually found. Is the owner of the manor – who is also the philandering ex-roommate-cum-son-in-law of the Justice – involved in some way? Then why do all evidences point to the Justice himself as the prime suspect for the murder of his law clerk?

 

What if all the theories are wrong, and a vengeful spirit from the past is actually behind the crimes, as the Justice’s daughter believes?
All these questions are answered as the plot gradually builds up to reach the climax. Several twists in the plot prove that everything is not as simple as it apparently seems. The moment we think we have got it, yet another mystery unravels and stumps us. The pace steadily uphill, the story never dull, once I started the book, I felt compelled to finish.

 

The character portrayals are beautiful. The President’s anguish over his lost daughters; the protagonist’s concern for his own daughter’s well-being and safety; the caretaker’s sense of loyalty; the son-in-law’s love for the caretaker, who was also his childhood refuge- are a few of the instances which show us the brighter sides of human nature and relations. On the other hand, dark undertones in the characters of outwardly distinguished persons are revealed as the mysteries gradually unfold.

 

Abduction, murders, extramarital affairs, devious schemes, betrayals, suspense, a tinge of supernatural- this book has got the entire package and should be a ‘must read’ for all thriller-lovers.


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Book Review – No More Heroes by Roo I. MacLeod

Book Review – No More Heroes by Roo I. MacLeod

Book Review –

No More Heroes

by Roo I. MacLeod

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Rodney Strong
Fiction Author
 

 


Book Review by Rodney Strong

Difficult to get into but picks up the pace nicely…

No More Hereos is a dystopian thriller set in some unknown time where society is governed by the Man, and various factions fight against each other. In the middle of all this is Ben, the protagonist who really just wants to keep his head down and drift through life. He’s run away from the draft, not interested in fighting in the Man’s war, and now dodges the Army, amongst others. His life is drinking and smoking and hanging out with friends. Until one day an old friend shows up asking him to deliver a bag to his mother for him. Before Ben can answer chaos erupts and the friend is killed and the bag disappears. The only trouble is alot of people seem to think Ben still has the bag. And thus the plot develops.

I liked the character of Ben. At first he seems a little one dimensional, but as the book goes on we begin to see different deeps to his personality. Likewise some of the secondary characters are well formed and in varying stages of likeability (You’re not supposed to like them all, which means the author has done their job right).

The plot does wear thin in spots and there are some scenes that seem to be there for padding, not really adding to the main story, but the description of the action is done well, and there’s plenty of it.

I did find the first 40-50 pages difficult to get into though. There was a lot of overwriting in the beginning, with almost wall to wall adjectives for a bit. However the author settled into their work nicely, and the story really started to flow.

I would read more work from this author, and the ending of the book sets up a sequel, so it will be interesting to see where Ben goes next.


The Reviewer is the Author of “Troy’s Possibilities” and “Murder in Paint

 
Book Review : Murder in Paint by Rodney Strong

Book Review : Murder in Paint by Rodney Strong

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Book Review – Murder in Paint

by Rodney Strong

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3 Blogger Reviews

Dianne James Book Blogger
 Joni Dee
Thriller Author
Brittany Hood
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 Dianne James 
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Book Review by Joni Dee User Sign Up

Thoroughly Enjoyable Art-Elemented Thriller!

Murder in Paint is the second novel by Rodney Strong, who’s a Wellington, NZ based author. I’ve read Rodney’s debut “Troy’s Possibilities” which was an unorthodox fiction novel, and stood first in line to read “Murder in Paint”, which is Strong’s attempt of a thriller. I was not disappointed.

As a thriller author myself I always enjoy exploring other sub-genres, with an extra attraction to either political or art, the latter being a rare find. I’ve approached this novel cautiously, as like Strong’s previous novel, there is a dominant element of supernatural, and I’m not normally into such things. In this case, the anti-hero protagonist, Oliver Atkinson, reluctantly “picks up” a “hitchhiker” in the cemetery – a spirit called Violet Tumbleton – who becomes a constant presence in his head. It kind of reminded me of “Defender” by G X Todd, which is a rather unknown newish novel about an apocalyptic world where people get the “gift” of self-aware beings, voices, stuck in their heads.

Urged by the long dead Violet to find the con-woman who “stole” her name, Oliver, is sucked into a whirlpool of art-theft and a murder investigation. Fake Violet, aka Amanda, cons and steals for a living, but after a painting she sold had gone missing, and the art dealer found dead, she is picked up by the police. She then names Oliver, who she randomly met, as her partner. Oliver, who’s a stay-at-home-dad that quit his 9-5 job in pursuit of a career as an author (probably loosely based on Mr Strong, who has done the same) is anything but the cunning partner you’d want on a task like this. With the police breathing done his neck, a hired-thug called Victor who believes Oliver knows where the painting is, Amanda’s shenanigans and Violet in his head, Oliver is forced to take control of his life again.

Let me just start by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed the novel. The supernatural element has completely slipped off my mind, and the interaction between Oliver and Violet seemed so natural that I nearly forgot to mention she’s a spirit of a long-dead woman in my review! Oliver is in the wrong place at the wrong time, and his suburban life is thrown into a mess, which he doesn’t know how to approach, left alone solve. His reliance on a con-artist is both believable and aggravating, I really wanted to shout to the pages “snap out of it mate!”, but it’s also part of his charm. A character I could very well identify with, as it seems like my life has the same kids-induced mess, as his.

Strong’s writing is accurate, without being rigid, the book flows, and I found myself waiting for my work commutes, in order to get on with it. The art plot, as the main drive behind the mystery was great, and Strong has done such a great job making it plausible, that I actually opened Google to search for the artists he mentions, disappointed to find they weren’t real.
If I must point out a flaw, is that the resolution was a bit expected, nor was the climax too nail-biting, however – it was not disappointing. There were also a couple of opportunities where it seemed neither Oliver nor Strong knew how the former will get out of a situation he had gotten himself into, and the latter spared us the dialogue which got him out of it. It wasn’t common but it stuck out. Also, I’d expected a few more questions from Oliver about the afterlife (!) – not necessarily answers.

All in all a great thriller, I really liked it, 4.5 stars is the proper score. Looking forward to the next one, in what appears to be the start of a series.


 

Book Review by Rodney Strong User Sign Up

An unexpected Hitchhiker Leads to a Murder

I read Rodney Strong’s debut novel, Troy’s Possibilities, last year and absolutely loved it! Now Strong is back with his new novel Murder in Paint. I’m a murder mystery gal at heart and I jumped at the chance to read it and see how Strong moved into a new genre.

Oliver is an aspiring writing. He spends his days researching and typing out his new, take-the-world-by-storm novel. Just kidding. . . He spends most of his time doing laundry, cleaning up after his two kids, and making sure he gets them to their various activities somewhat on time. And there’s no time for writing his book.

Oliver has been floating through life as a stay at home husband/dad. But circumstances take an unexpected turn when he picks up a hitchhiker at the cemetery.

Violet Tumbleton has been dead for a long time, but she has now returned. Someone has stolen Violet’s name and she wants it back. There’s only one problem, she’s a voice inside Oliver’s head.

Oliver and Violet team up to find who the fake Violet is. But in their discovery, they become entangled with an art thief, a murder, and there’s still more danger coming.

One of the things I love about Strong’s main characters is that they are so raw. Oliver is absolutely believable and relatable. Everything he does and thinks is what a real person would do. His life isn’t perfect, actually it’s complete chaos with two little cyclones running around. He’s the charming, stay-at-home-husband next door.

I have two elements I do want to address: the murder itself and Oliver’s wife Jennifer. The murder does not take a main role in the story until much later. I honestly forgot there was a murder in the story for a while. Jennifer’s reaction to the whole situation is unbelievable to me. There is a murder on the loose, her family (including two children) is being threatened, and the reaction is very underplayed.

The story itself is quite similar to the Stephanie Plum series: there’s action, bad guys, and enough humor that will keep you chuckling for the rest of the afternoon. It’s a great beach read or a ‘sunny afternoon’ read. And the ending had me bursting out laughing! I can’t wait to see what the next book has in store!

Murder in Paint by Rodney Strong receives 3.5 stars.


The reviewer is a book blogger, originally posted on Britanny’s Pages

Dianne James Book Blogger Reviewed by Dianne James User Sign Up

What a delightfully entertaining book!

Oliver Atkinson has given up his job to write a book, whilst also taking on the role of house husband. His life appears to be full, looking after his two young children and doing the daily chores, but not enough writing is getting done.
After making a family visit to the cemetery to visit his mother’s grave, Oliver inadvertently picks up a spirit. Violet’s spirit needs his help and whilst he first thinks he is perhaps going mad, he eventually accepts her as she unknowingly leads him into a tangled web of art theft and murder, where he becomes involved with a con artist using Violet’s name.

I loved, loved, loved this book even though the supernatural aspect would normally not be my thing. The plot was tangled enough to keep me well interested and the characters wonderfully developed and diverse.

Strong has an easy writing style filled with humour and occasional irreverence, which made me…an Antipodean…feel right at home.
I love a good mystery and this was not in any way a disappointment. The ending was almost totally unexpected and the epilogue made me laugh out loud.
A truly, truly, delightful book you can get your teeth into. Highly recommended. I can’t wait to read Strong’s next one.


Originally posted on “Once Upon a Place” Blog
Dianne is running the book review blog Novel Experiences

 

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Book Review – Veiled by Cyana Gaffney

Book Review – Veiled by Cyana Gaffney

Book Review – Veiled

by Cyana Gaffney

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Dianne James Book Blogger
Julia Wilson
Christian Bookaholic
 Dianne James 
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Reviewed by Julia Wilson User Sign Up

You Go Before Me

Veiled by Cyana Gaffney is an absolutely cracking contemporary Christian suspense that draws the reader in from the start.

The opening immediately presents the reader with questions. “If only she could go back and make different choices.” I was hooked. What different choices were needed? What had she done?

The novel is cleverly constructed with the timeline fluctuating and the character focus changing. I clung on to the action with trepidation and anticipation. The ending was brilliant and has set me up for book two. Let me assure readers though, the ending did wrap up my questions but whetted my appetite for what is to come.

Guilt weighs us down. Consequences of actions have far reaching effects. “She lost herself that day… and God whom she had not spoken to since.” Life will either draw us towards God or push Him away. “I just don’t believe anymore.” If we are wise, we will cling to God.

Though we may move from God, He is faithful to us, awaiting our return. His silence has nothing to do with Him not speaking and everything to do with us not listening. We need to draw near to God and hear His whisper.

The novel is mainly set in Saudi. Here the customs and way of life is very different. There were some hard to read (but realistic) scenes due to corruption and cruelty. Trust is the focus of the novel. People let us down. Regimes cannot be trusted. God is faithful. If we put our trust in Him, our feet will always have a firm foundation no matter what life throws at us.

Veiled was a powerful if disturbing novel. It was realistic and opened my eyes to the plight of women. It was an incredible story that tugged at my heart and played with my emotions. I can highly recommend it.

I received this book for free from The Book Gobbler. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.


Originaly Posted on the Christian Bookaholic

 

Dianne James Book Blogger Reviewed by Dianne James User Sign Up

A story of pain & fear; capitulation & inner strength;  love & rediscovery of faith

“Veiled” is the story of a young woman’s trip to Saudi Arabia, which goes to hell in a hand basket from the moment she lands. Hailey is arrested by the religious police when she lands in Riyadh and is taken on a journey of horror and fear from that moment on. No spoilers here though.

I stepped out of my comfort zone in reading this Christian Inspirational novel, but I was seduced by the blurb and I was not disappointed at all. This is an excellent suspense novel, filled with emotion and fear, and takes you on a journey that will both amaze and horrify you.

I really enjoyed this book. At first I wasn’t overly enamoured with the main character, but as she gained inner strength and determination, it was hard not to be right there with her. Your pulse will race as the suspense builds…over and over.

It is a story of pain and fear of the unknown; of capitulation and inner strength, but it is also a story of love of humanity, and rediscovery of faith.

Though this book may horrify many readers as they uncover this very different culture, the story is told with a good measure of sensitivity and understanding. The suspense is palpable and the outcome not really certain until the end where it leaves you on a cliffhanger.

Will I read the next book? You betcha!


Originally posted on “Once Upon a Place” Blog
Dianne is running the book review blog Novel Experiences

 

 

 
Book Review – Mind Games by Stevie Turner

Book Review – Mind Games by Stevie Turner

Book Review – Mind Games 

by Stevie Turner

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2 Bloggers’ Reviews

 

Dale E. Lehman 
BookGobbler Author
 Cherie McKay Horst 
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Reviewed by Dale E. Lehman User Sign Up

An Emotionally-Charged Addiction Tale

Frances and Martin Andrews have a serious problem: he’s addicted to pornography, and she’s addicted to spying on him to secure evidence of his transgressions. The lack of trust between them has shattered their marriage, and even counseling doesn’t offer much hope. Martin’s repeated lies render impotent his protestations that he’s changed. He desperately wants her back, but she desperately wants to be free of him.

That’s the set-up. What follows in this fast-paced and relatively short novel spans a few emotionally-charged years in which husband and wife must face their own flaws as well as each other’s. It’s a compelling read about a life-destroying indulgence that has ensnared all too many people, particularly in the Internet age. Turner does a creditable job of portraying the addiction and its effects, although I suspect she’s captured the wife’s trauma better than the husband’s. Frances grows considerably through the story, while Martin’s journey through hell ultimately seems fruitless. I’ll grant that’s one plausible outcome, but I found it disheartening. Maybe that’s the point? I at least would have liked a bit deeper glimpse into Martin’s psyche at the end to understand better how he ends up where he does.

The writing is good enough, although I thought phrases containing the word “porn” occurred a bit too often, and some of the dialogue, particularly with the counselor, seemed a bit stilted. (However, I’ve never been in a counseling session, so maybe that’s how it really is.) I also think the author missed some opportunities to delve deeper into the characters through the action. This is a complex situation that could easily support another 50 pages of development without feeling stretched.

A word of caution: Although this work is neither romance nor erotica, there are a few explicit passages, not excessively graphic but very direct.

The strengths and weaknesses of “Mind Games” had me hemming and hawing over a rating. I’ve settled on 4.5 stars for story and a bit better than 3.5 for the writing, yielding 4 stars overall.


The Reviewer is the Author of “The Fibonacci Murders” ,”True Death” and “Ice on the Bay

This review will feature in his blog www.DaleELehman.com

 

Reviewed by Cherie McKay Horst User Sign Up

The Author Did a Very Good Job

“Mind Games” is the story of the life of Frances and Martin Andrews.  Their story is one of a marriage that has been destroyed by Martin’s addiction to porn and the loss of trust that comes from addiction.

The story is told from both Frances and Martin’s perspectives. Throughout the story you begin to see life through the eyes of Frances, with occasional views through Martin’s eyes.  The character of Frances really grows throughout the tale, and I found myself really rooting for her.

It is a fast moving story, and I found myself making my way through the book in a short time.  Although the story is about porn addiction, it is not an erotic or sensual book in anyway.  At times the book is hard to read simply because porn addiction is a tough subject to read about. But the story line is interesting, and I wanted to know the outcome of their marriage and where life takes them.

I think the author did a very good job telling an interesting, fast moving story about a very complex, yet believable situation.

 


The Reviewer runs “From Michigan to Germany” blog


 


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Book Review – A NECESSARY END by Diana Rubino

Book Review – A NECESSARY END by Diana Rubino

Book Review –

A NECESSARY END, The Act of a Desperate Rebel

by Diana Rubino

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Rodney Strong
Fiction Author
 

 


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An Entertaining, if Slightly too Long, Book.  Would Look for Other Work by Ms. Rubino

“A Necessary End” re-imagines the events leading up to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth, told from the assassins point of view.  Throw in some supernatural elements and great attention to detail of living during those times and you get an entertaining, if slightly too long, book.

The author has obviously done her homework when it comes to creating an authentic world.  The detail is superb and the readers get a  clear sense of the conflict between the Confederate and Union sides of the civil war.  John Wilkes Booth is both a compassionate, and ruthless man who is driven to take action against an unjust president who breaks a promise to spare the life of a friend.  Over the course of the book he forms conspiracies, even while there are those that conspire against him.  At the same time he is haunted by a spirit, and this increasingly directs his actions.

This is a long book, and at times I felt frustrated at all the sub plots and, how all the female characters swooned over Booth.  It became a little repetitive, especially as the book progressed.  It felt like twenty pages could have been knocked off the total and we still would have had the essential story and characters.

It’s these little frustrations that stopped me from getting completely immersed in the book, and therefore giving it a 5 star rating.

Having said that, I was overall entertained by the book, and would look for other work by the same author.


The Reviewer is the Author of “Troy’s Possibilities” and “Murder in Paint”

 
Book Review – Oney, My Escape From Slavery by Diana Rubino and Piper Huguley

Book Review – Oney, My Escape From Slavery by Diana Rubino and Piper Huguley

Book Review – Oney, My Escape From Slavery

by Diana Rubino and Piper Huguley

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1 Bloggers Review

Julia Wilson
Christian Bookaholic

 


Reviewed by Julia Wilson User Sign Up

All Man Are Frec

Oney: My Escape From Slavery by Diana Rubino and Piper Huguley is an epic historical novel that blends fact and fiction into a marvellous tale.

At its heart is the question of slavery. It is appalling to the modern reader that this vile trade ever existed. Slaves were not seen as people but commodities. Some were treated well, others not but a palace is as much of a prison as a shack if you are not free.

Oney was a forward thinking young woman who wanted not only her freedom. “I’ve had enough of bein’ property. I wanna own my own body.” She wanted an education too. She was a very brave young woman. The novel surrounds the plight of women. Even those who thought they were free, were actually subject to the will of their husbands.

There is a tentative bond between Oney and her mistress. She was treated kindly but still seen as a possession to be given away on a whim.
Religion is mentioned. There are some who want religion and the state separate, others who want them tied together. The African Free Church plays a part in Oney’s life. She also observes her mistress “prayed whenever she wanted a favor from God, but I never heard her thank Him afterward.”

The novel is a comprehensive account of life in the 1790’s. The reader hears about the War Of Independence – ironically not all men were free – and the French Revolution. The reader is party to parlour gossip.

Oney is brave, gutsy and likable. The reader cheers her on, urging her towards freedom. I liked her.
A powerful emotional read surrounding an abhorrent practice.

To all those brave men, women and children. “Slavery took our bodies but they can’t take our souls.”

I received this book for free from the Book Gobbler. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.


Originaly Posted on the Christian Bookaholic

 

 
Book Review – Final Notice by Van Fleisher

Book Review – Final Notice by Van Fleisher

by Rodney Strong 0 Comments

Book Review – Final Notice

by Van Fleisher

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Dianne James Book Blogger  
Rodney Strong
Fiction Author
Dianne James 
Blogger & Reader 
Shrabastee Chakraborty
BookGobbler Reader

 


Book Review by Rodney Strong User Sign Up

A Solidly Written Book that Just wasn’t Thrilling enough for me

“A new smart watch has the ability to predict how long someone has to live, sending them a “Final Notice” to get their affairs in order.  Everyone reacts differently, but in some cases, getting their affairs in order means picking up a gun and killing other people, or themselves.

Final Notice is billed as a political thriller, which is the biggest issue I had with the story.  When I hear the description “thriller” I assume edge of the seat, lots of action and suspense.  Unfortunately Final Notice didn’t have any of those things.  It was a solidly written book, but in my opinion definitely not a thriller. Making the company manufacturing the watches, cooperative and the good guys really took away a prime opportunity for conflict.

There were some nicely written passages, and I particularly liked the relationship between Vince and Trudi, and really liked the nice little twist from Trudi at the end.  However there were too many characters introduced, and most of them were superfluous to the story, even the FBI agent seemed to have little to do, and didn’t add any tension to the plot at all.

The author fell right into the trap of telling rather than showing readers, and there was quite a bit of over writing in places. Also the author took readers out of the story at times by adding little notes from the author into the text, which were distracting and unnecessary.


The Reviewer is the Author of Troy’s Possibilities

 

Dianne James Book Blogger Reviewed by Dianne James User Sign Up

To Whatever Genre it May Fit, “Final Notice” is a Grand Book

Wow!, Just Wow! That was my first thought when I finished this book. Normally I would write a synopsis first but I found this difficult to do, so bear with me.

The main story follows the testing stage of the VT2, a new sport watch- and I use the term loosely – which monitors your body and blood to the extent that it can accurately predict (within 30 days) when you will die. The watch sends out a Final Notice giving the wearer the number of days they have left. So what would you do if you knew you only had X number of days to live? Would you make sure your affairs were in order and say your goodbyes or would you settle a grievance with a gun, knowing that you would never have to pay for your crime?

This book follows the stories of several Final Notice recipients who did just that. The FBI becomes involved when it’s realised there is a link between some recent, and perhaps strange, murders and the VT2.

But there is also the story of Vince (70) and his wife Trudi who rail against the easy availability of guns until an incident that leaves them feeling the frailty of their age. They are truly conflicted.

This book is set in the near future and powerfully highlights the political influence of the NRA, but other social issues such as the indifference and lack of respect spot wards the ageing and the growing hatred of foreigners, especially Muslims, are also approached within the story.

It took me a few pages to understand how this story was put together, but once I did, I was fully engrossed in all of it. It is a complex tale of serious topics but it is tempered by moments of humour and the odd step out of the story by the author. I loved that. It made it quite personal, in effect giving you a kind of relationship with the author as well as the main characters. Very brave, Mr Fleisher.

The main characters are well developed and the book moves at a rollicking pace. I’m not sure where it fits in; it’s touted a s thriller and mildly sci fi, but I’m not sure it fits either of those well. Social commentary perhaps, but wherever it fits, it’s a grand book and I look forward to the next one


Originally posted on “Once Upon a Place” Blog
Dianne is running the book review blog Novel Experiences

 

 

  Book Review by Shrabastee Chakraborty
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Thought-Provoking Novel, but Not Much ‘Thrill’.

“What would you do if you knew- for certain- that you had one week to live?” -the very first question Van Fleisher raises at the start of “Final Notice” jolts the readers. While we keep pondering over this, a high-tech company is shown to introduce a health-monitoring watch that can accurately predict the user’s death within a time limit of a week. With this knowledge of impending death, some people use the remaining time putting their affairs in order or standing up for their ideals one last time; while others kill people they had issues with, thus settling the score once and for all.
The author plunges into an intricate account of US society and introduces a plethora of characters: Vince and Trudy Fuller, an elderly couple; Vijay Patel, the inventor of VitalTech; Quasim and Rasha Melho, an immigrant couple; Zoe Brouet, a Special Agent of FBI; Senator John McAdam- to name a few.
Several other questions gradually come into focus: by encouraging possession and use of guns, will NRA help to counter violence, or rather increase it? Will arming the school teachers and common people help them prevent mass shooting at schools and other acts of crime, or will that prove to be a disaster just waiting to happen? How does ‘NRA Senior Discount’ on guns affect the judgement of the elderly people, who often have to suffer humiliation and disrespect from younger generation? How do the immigrants in USA feel when racist comments are directed towards them?
Described as a ‘political thriller’, the story has a definite political undertone, but does not elicit much thrill. The pace, at least in the first few chapters, is too slow for my choice. The narration is frequently interspersed with side notes from the author and musings of the characters, without which the story could have been more compact. Background details of many characters are given, which seems unnecessary. Also, the dialogues sometimes sound like staged monologues, not real conversations.

In spite of those shortcomings, I feel the story-line is perfectly relevant in today’s society, as it addresses several crucial questions and makes the reader think and re-think their answers. The main characters show bravery, goodwill and compassion for their fellow humans; their actions often implore us to rise over petty vengeance or personal grudges and to be kind.
The last twist is unexpected, and while it reflects good intent from Trudy’s part, I leave it to the readers to decide whether it is justified or not. Finally, the end of the story holds a beacon of hope for a better future.

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Book Review – Kids, Camels and Cairo by Jill Dobbe

Book Review – Kids, Camels and Cairo by Jill Dobbe

by Brittany 2 Comments

Book Review – Kids, Camels and Cairo

by Jill Dobbe

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1 Review

   
 Rose Elliot
Findling Land, Book Blogger
 Brittany, Top Reviewer
BookGobbler & Brittany’s Pages

 


 

Book Review by Rose Elliot User Sign Up

One of the Best Travel Memoirs I’ve Ever Read

A little-known fact about me is that I spent part of a summer in college teaching abroad in Shanghai and Qingdao, China. In Shanghai, my team and I ran a three week ESL summer day camp for freshman nursing students. After that, a few of us went to Qingdao to help with a new ESL school. We got to do some informal, one-on-one tutoring as we introduced some neighborhood kids to English. It was a lot of fun! I would love to do something like it again and loving hearing about other’s experiences teaching abroad. So when Brittany texted me “Kids, Camels, and Cairo” as an option for this month’s buddy read, I jumped at the chance to read it.

“Kids, Camels, and Cairo” by Jill Dobbe provides an inside look at what life is like when living and teaching abroad. Dobbe and her husband are no strangers to teaching internationally. In fact, this book takes place after Dobbe and her husband had taken a three year break from teaching internationally, but continued to feel the pull of their past experiences and desire for more. Dobbe shares her experience as they navigated an international job fair, found her dream job as an elementary school principle in Cairo, Egypt, and as she and her husband traveled, lived, and worked in the Middle East.

Dobbe takes you with her as she explores the pyramids, rides a camel, visits the Dead Sea, and crosses cultural barriers as an administrator at an Egyptian elementary school. She shares her struggles, victories, mishaps, lessons learned (the easy and hard way!), and so much more. Reading this book felt like I’d hopped on a plane and gone to Cairo with her and her family!

My only complaints about “Kids, Camels, and Cairo” kind of go hand-in-hand. I was expecting her to talk more about her experience in the school itself. While she did share things here and there, the focus was more on her social and travel life. This was perfectly fine! It just was not what I was expecting, partly due to the book description. I also wish that Kids, Camels, and Cairo was about a hundred pages longer. If it had been longer, she could have included more of her school experience. Two years is a long time! I got a lot out of the story, but the shortness of the book left me wishing I had gotten much more.


Part of a buddy read, posted on  Finding Land, Rose’s Book Blog

 


 

Britanny's Pages Book Review by Brittany User Sign Up

One of the Best Travel Memoirs I’ve Ever Read

Kids, Camels, & Cairo by Jill Dobbe has been one of the best travel memoirs I’ve ever read. Jill’s writing is concise and charming, I would seriously read anything that she writes. 

Jill and her husband decided to sell their house and teach abroad. They’ve done it before. After visiting job fairs, they decided on positions at a school in Cairo, Egypt. So one sunny day, they packed up their things and moved their lives across the globe.
The Dobbes experienced many difficulties, including language, religion, and culture. But they remained open minded and adapted really well. 

Jill’s book is part travel book and part memoir. I really admire people who write their own personal stories for others to read. It’s a brave act, in my opinion, as your personal actiones rather than your story – are then judged. Jill has approached this book so well. It might be the teacher in her, but everything she wrote in this book is so interesting: It flows so well from story to story and I soaked up every single word. I just wish it wasn’t so short!

This book could easily be 5 stars, but I rated it lower due to a personal disagreement with one decision she made, which overshadowed my experience. However, I’m not going to go into detail – read this fantastic book and judge for yourself!


Part of a buddy read, to be posted Feb 28th 2018, on Britanny’s Pages

 


 

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Book Review: Cold Comfort by Larry Darter

Book Review: Cold Comfort by Larry Darter

by gobbler 0 Comments

Free Book : Cold Comfort

(The Malone Mystery Novels, Volume 3)

by Larry Darter

Average rating (all reviews) :

 

1 Blogger Review

Dianne James Book Blogger
Kathryn Moody 
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Dianne James 
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Reviewed by
Kathryn Moody

A super intriguing PI story that keeps you entertained and guessing!

I was totally intrigued by the whole story which is in the heart of Cold Comfort by Larry Darter. The story-line captivated me from start to finish, and I look forward to reading more about Private Investigator Ben Malone and his adventures.

Ben Malone is an ex-LAPD Homicide detective, with plenty of street smarts, quick wit and carries his gun at all times as an accessory during his investigations. This character’s introduction was the initial reason that kept me reading.
An attorney, Liz Harper, hires Ben when she has a client arrested for the murder of his wife. His prints are all over the murder weapon, and he lives in a house on his wife’s property, but Liz really believes he is innocent.
The story follows as Ben investigates just what happened to Ms. Sutherland, using an ex-partner Reyes, who is still on duty in the LAPD, for assistance with some info. As the case goes on Malone is followed, shot at, and gains a new associate TJ, an athletic, beautiful female who is one hell of a shot.

I enjoyed all the quick short-showing background details as well as the romance this novel holds.
This is a great suspense story with plenty of twists and turns that will keep you guessing.  Even though this is a stand-alone novel, this being the third in the series I am now going to be looking for the first two and awaiting the fourth!!

I received a copy of this book from BookGobbler, to which I had given my honest review.


 

Dianne James Book Blogger Reviewed by Dianne James

A Good, Gutsy Crime Story

I have not had so much fun reading a book for a very long time. It took me back to the days of reading Phillip Marlowe stories and the style is similar.

The characterisation told by Larry Darter is great with, P.I. Malone being the quintessential tough guy – unemotional and slightly cocky. The other characters’ featured were a perfect fit, adding depth and humour to round out the story.

Cold Comfort is pacy, it has lots of action and plenty of interesting twists and turns. I loved every second of it so much that I had to go back and buy the first two in the series.

If you love a good, gutsy crime story, don’t miss this one!


Originally posted on “Once Upon a Place” Blog
Dianne is running the book review blog Novel Experiences